Jesse Lee Reno Elementary School, behind Alice Deal Middle School, 4820 Howard Street NW
From the 1930s through approximately 1950, Reno City, a predominantly African-American, working-class neighborhood that was established during the Civil War, was systematically razed. As the area was developed into a series of suburban subdivisions intended for white middle-class residents, Reno stood out as "a complete aberration to the surrounding suburban neighborhood, and a perceived threat to the area's middle class stability," according to the D.C. Historic Preservation Landmark Designation Case filing. A letter written in 1926 to the House of Representatives from the D.C. Board of Commissioners asked for support of new developments for "high class residents," stating, "This irregular, ill-devised subdivision constitutes a blight upon this part of the District."
The D.C. government bought up the land to create two new white schools, Alice Deal Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School, as well as the public park and water tower that now constitute Fort Reno Park. The Reno City neighborhood originally included about 100 houses, several churches, a grocery, and a Masonic Lodge. The only remaining trace of the neighborhood is the Reno Elementary School, which still stands behind Deal Middle School.
The school was built in 1904, a simple four-classroom building over a raised basement, to serve African-American students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school building is now under review for Landmark status, and is unused. It is marked with an historic plaque.